Try this 15-minute dumbbell workout to build muscle in your legs, arms and core

This popular 15-minute, total-body dumbbell workout has garnered over 2 million views online

dumbbell workout with partner
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Looking for a workout that does it all in a very short amount of time? Us, too. If you're very busy, you need something that works your upper body, lower body, back, and core in a short space of time. It's also got to make you sweat, and ideally can be done in a small space. 

To complete this 15-minute total-body strength and conditioning workout, you just need a set of two of the best adjustable dumbbells. These handy pieces of kit allow you to select your weight based on your strength and movement requirements. Of course, you can use standard dumbbells too, but as you get strong enough to handle heavier weights, you'll need to get another set each time, taking up space and costing more money. 

This 15-minute dumbbell workout from One Body LA (opens in new tab)'s Julius White and LaToya Johnson, better known as Juice and Toya online, hits all the markers above. In a short amount of time, you'll do the following moves:

Five lower-body moves:

  • Drop squats
  • Front lunges
  • Kneeling step-ups
  • Single-leg deadlifts
  • Lateral lunges

Six upper-body moves:

  • Upright rows
  • Hammer curls
  • Seated military press
  • Floor chest press
  • Floor skullcrushers
  • Bent-over rows

Three core finishers:

  • Knee tucks
  • Pull-throughs
  • 'Hold the world'

This workout also creates a fat-burning effect. You don't perform the moves for a set number of reps: instead, you work for 45 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, and move on to the next exercise. There are no repetitions here, keeping things interesting for you – and "shocking" your muscles with new challenges. Check out the workout below:

Watch the 15-minute dumbbell workout below:

Why do this dumbbell workout?

White says: "You're going to want to use a pair of dumbbells that are moderate to light weight, because we're going to do a lot of different exercises in this video." Make sure you select a weight light enough to perform all the exercises effectively. If you pick one that's too heavy, you may struggle, particularly on the upper body exercises. 

This workout builds strength and burns fat at the same time by limiting your rest time, working on HIIT training principles. If you've been sleeping on strength training so far, it's worth knowing that research finds (opens in new tab) a combination of strength training, cardiovascular exercise and a healthy diet can help burn fat more effectively than any of those disciplines can individually.

You don't have to use dumbbells to achieve this effect, although they certainly help for this workout. The best resistance bands can also help with strength training exercises. They're lighter, cheaper, more portable, and less likely to hurt if you drop them on your toe, making them great for older exercisers. Our best chest workouts with resistance bands can help you get started.  

Finally, you need to fuel up with protein to help you build and repair your muscles after a tough strength training session. You can get protein from plenty of lean dietary sources like pulses, nuts, peas, legumes, meat, and fish, or one of our best protein powders for weight loss.   

Matt Evans
News Editor

Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and News Editor at Fit&Well, covering all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.